United States District Court, S.D. California
ORDER SUA SPONTE REMANDING ACTION TO STATE
Gonzalo P. Curiel United States District Judge
10, 2017, Defendants Sean Dominguez and Paige Dominguez
(“Defendants”), proceeding pro se, filed a notice
of removal of this unlawful detainer action from the Superior
Court of the State of California for San Diego County. Based
on the reasoning below, the Court sua sponte REMANDS
the action to state court for lack of subject matter
courts are courts of limited jurisdiction.”
Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S.
375, 377 (1994). “It is to be presumed that a cause
lies outside this limited jurisdiction, and the burden of
establishing the contrary rests upon the party asserting
jurisdiction.” Id. It is well-established that
a federal court cannot reach the merits of any dispute until
it confirms that it retains subject matter jurisdiction to
adjudicate the issues presented. Steel Co. v. Citizens
for a Better Environ., 523 U.S. 83, 94-95 (1988).
Accordingly, federal courts are under a continuing duty to
confirm their jurisdictional power and are “obliged to
inquire sua sponte whenever a doubt arises as to [its]
existence . . . .” Mt. Healthy City Sch. Dist. Bd.
of Educ. v. Doyle, 429 U.S. 274, 278 (1977) (citations
subject matter jurisdiction may be based on (1) federal
question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331; and (2)
diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Here,
Defendants assert federal question jurisdiction. For an
action to be removed on the basis of federal question
jurisdiction, the complaint must establish either that
federal law creates the cause of action or that the
plaintiff's right to relief necessarily depends on the
resolution of substantial questions of federal law.
Franchise Tax Bd. of Cal. v. Constr. Laborers Vacation
Trust for S. Cal., 463 U.S. 1, 10-11 (1983). The
presence or absence of federal question jurisdiction
“is governed by the ‘well-pleaded complaint rule,
' which provides that federal jurisdiction exists only
when a federal question is presented on the face of
plaintiff's properly pleaded complaint.”
Caterpillar Inc. v. Williams, 482 U.S. 386, 392
(1987). It is well settled that a “case may not be
removed to federal court on the basis of a federal defense .
. . even if the defense is anticipated in the plaintiff's
complaint, and even if both parties concede that the federal
defense is the only question truly at issue.”
Id. at 393.
review of the state court complaint in this case shows that
Plaintiff Mission Capital Properties, Inc.
(“Plaintiff”) alleges a single cause of action
for unlawful detainer under California state law. In the
notice of removal, Defendants argue that a federal statute,
Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure
(“PTFA”), applies to their case and thus, provides
the Court with federal question jurisdiction.
“the PTFA expired on December 31, 2014.”
Fairview Tasman LLC v. Young, Case No. 15cv5493-LHK,
2016 WL 199060, at *2 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 18, 2016) (citing
Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act,
Pub. L. No. 111-203, 124 Stat. 1376, 2204 (2010) (setting
date of expiration)); see also Franks v. Franks,
Case No. 17cv893-CAB-AGS, 2017 WL 1735169, at *2 (S.D. Cal.
May 4, 2017). Here, the unlawful detainer action was filed on
March 9, 2017, and there is no indication that any of the
facts constituting the unlawful detainer action occurred
prior to December 31, 2014. In fact, Plaintiff became the
owner of the subject property on March 1, 2017, after the
PTFA expired. (See Dkt. No. 1 at 9.) However, even if
the PTFA applied, Defendants' argument is still without
PTFA does not create a cause of action for a tenant.
Logan v. U.S. Bank Nat'l Ass'n, 722 F.3d
1163, 1169 (9th Cir. 2013). In Logan, the court
analyzed the Congressional record to determine that Congress
showed no implicit or explicit intent to create a cause of
action under the PTFA. Id; see also Nativi v.
Deutsche Bank Nat'l Trust Co., No. 09-06096 PVT,
2010 WL 2179885 (N.D. Cal. May 26, 2010). The Ninth Circuit
held that the PTFA neither explicitly nor implicitly creates
a cause of action, but instead explained that the PTFA is a
defense in California state eviction proceedings.
Logan, 722 F.3d at 1173. Therefore, the PTFA does
not create a cause of action that could have originally been
brought in federal court, and as a defense, it is
insufficient to confer subject matter jurisdiction. See
Caterpillar Inc., 482 U.S. at 393 (“a case may not
be removed to federal court on the basis of a federal
Defendants' assertion of federal subject matter
jurisdiction is without merit and Plaintiffs state law
unlawful detainer claim is not removable.
on the above, the Court sua sponte REMANDS the
action to the Superior Court of the State of California for
San Diego County.